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The Saying is ‘You Are What You Eat’, so Drink and Eat Coconut as it is Nutritious and Healthy”

("The Cocommunity" - Monthly APCC Newsletter
Volume 45, Series No. 3, 1 March 2015)

The quality of people’s life is largely determined by what they eat, drink and how they live. The choices made are personal, irrespective of nationality, gender, race, creed or background. Recent media discussed the ‘Blue Zones’ that are geographical areas marked where it was found that an increasing number of people were known to have lived to 100 years and over. Studies were conducted on the Sardinian people in Italy, Okinawans in Japan, and the Nicoyans in Costa Rica. Central to the culture of these communities were a plant-based semi-vegetarian diet including legumes and whole grains; concern for family, sound religious faith, happy social engagements and no smoking were amongst key lifestyles with moderate physical activity that did not include membership of gyms. For generations the millions of families living under coconut trees ascribed to and embraced the similar culture and lifestyle enjoying good health.

“A buko a day keeps the Urologist away” was the quote on the back of the business card handed to me in an APCC Session some years ago in the Philippines by a medical doctor. Dr. Eufemio Macalalag’s studies have proven the effective administering of coconut water, or buko, in treating renal disorders and in reducing or dissolving all kinds of kidney stones. Drinking water from one coconut a day could not only almost guarantee prevention of the formation of kidney stones in the urinary tract but would also minimize incidences of prostrate problems in men and ensure a healthy reproductive system. Drinking and eating coconut is traditionally a daily habit in most of rural Asia and Pacific.

To date over 90 countries grow coconuts and it is utilized by their people daily in dietary forms, with external use for skin and hair, proving over many generations to be of invaluable benefit. Based on a number of clinical studies completed, and a few on-going, the products of coconut are amongst many plant-based products highly recommended for human consumption due to its proven health and nutritional benefits.

Daily intake of coconut oil with physical exercise has shown positive results in reducing blood pressure to normal levels according to researchers. Alzheimers patients recorded how their symptoms reversed after taking virgin coconut oil. As a natural antibacterial and anti-fungal, a lipid bio chemist researcher says coconut oil helps defend against viruses like HIV and herpes.

APCC with partners and stakeholders in both the coconut sector and the medical profession pursue the opportunity for an international collaboration on clinical studies into the health benefits of coconut. It is expected that clinical scientists and researchers with their respective institutions would take up the opportunity to conduct selected studies on the diverse product lines of coconut mostly consumed such as coconut oil, desiccated coconut, coconut cream/milk/powder, coconut water and coconut sugar, to name those gaining wide consumption in dietary categories. The results of these studies could either confirm the health benefits or point the sector in the right direction to address improvements in processing methods and technologies that enable a product to meet all required standards of a fully endorsed health product.

Many policy makers, when convinced, would declare coconut as a national government priority, enabling adequate resource support to replenish and increase tree population through well funded planting programs that fully engage rural youth, women and families in productive life under the coconut tree.

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